DOE signs deal to build CO2 capture system

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has signed an agreement with NRG Energy for the Parish Post-Combustion CO2 Capture and Sequestration Project to design, build and operate a system that will capture and store around 400,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year.

The project, which will be managed by the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, was selected under the DOE’s Clean Coal Power Initiative, a collaboration between the federal government and private industry working towards low-emission, coal-based power generation technology.

The project team intends to demonstrate that post-combustion carbon capture can be economically applied to existing power plants — particularly those having the opportunity to sequester CO2 in nearby oil fields — and the viability of sequestration in such formations. The technology would apply to many additional coal-based electric power plants in the US and throughout the world.

The system will employ Fluor’s Econamine FG Plus technology to capture at least 90 per cent of the CO2 from a 60MW flue gas stream of the 617MW Unit 7 at the WA Parish Generating Station in Thompsons, Texas.

Fluor’s Econamine FG Plus CO2 capture system is said to feature advanced process design and techniques, which lower the energy consumption of existing amine-based CO2 capture processes by more than 20 per cent.

The captured CO2 will be compressed and transported by pipeline to a mature oil field for injection into geologic formations for permanent storage through an enhanced oil recovery operation. The site will be monitored to track the migration of the CO2 underground and to establish the permanence of sequestration.

NRG engineering partner Sargent & Lundy, in conjunction with Ramgen, is also developing efficiency improvements in various balance-of-plant processes, including steam production and CO2 compression, to reduce the energy demands of the system.

Texas University will contribute its expertise to the project by developing and testing an advanced solvent used to capture the CO2. The university’s Bureau of Economic Geology will provide expertise with the design of carbon management and plant monitoring.

The total project cost is $334m (£226m), with the DOE share of the cost being $167m or 50 per cent of the total. Sequestration will begin in 2014, with project completion set for 2017.